dave chappelle toronto

Pride Toronto speaks out against MLSE for hosting Dave Chappelle's sold-out show

Dave Chappelle has embarked on tour this month on the heels of yet another controversial Netflix special, and many Toronto residents seem far from pleased about his forthcoming stop at the city's Scotiabank Arena on Monday night.

Among them are members of Pride Toronto, which has tweeted out its condemnation for MLSE, owner of tonight's venue, for allowing the accoladed comedian to take the stage given the fact that his newly-released special continued to inflame the star's tensions with the LGBTQ+ community.

"Pride Toronto is deeply disappointed in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment’s decision to provide the Scotiabank Arena platform to Dave Chappelle today following his transphobic tirade during his recently released Netflix special," the organization wrote this morning.

It went on to point out MLSE's role not only as a venue but as a force in sports culture, saying "We call on MLSE to commit to meaningful action to combat transphobia, in their spaces and in sports."

Chappelle's tour is not a live performance, but rather a screening of his new project, Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary Film to 20,000-person arenas packed with fans who would prefer a sneak peek of the film and a chance to see the man in person.

The star has made numerous jokes and comments that are being considered transphobic, both in his new The Closer special and over the years in general, including referring to himself, in earnest, as "team TERF," or Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

In The Closer, Chappelle states that "gender is a fact," joking about Caitlyn Jenner being voted Woman of the Year during her first year out as a woman.

"Never even had a period, ain't that something! I'd be mad as shit if I was a woman," he said.

He also touched on the hate that he's gotten from the community, saying, smiling, that "these transgenders want me dead. I've gone too far and said too much."

"I'm very worried about it, I'm not even joking. Every time I come out on stage, I be scared, looking around the crowd searching for knuckles and Adam's apples to see where the threats might be coming from," he continued.

"What is a woman? What is that in this day and time? Is there even such a thing as a woman or a man or anything? Seems to be a question nowadays."

He reiterated in the special that he is "not indifferent to the suffering of someone else," and added that "it's hard to be everybody," but stated that as a man with kids and a wife, he is personally very invested in the gender construct (though this doesn't mean he feel like another point of view can't exist).

He ended his routine by detailing his friendship with trans comedian Daphne Dorman in a way that seemed a little too akin to the way some people would employ the "I'm not racist! I have Black friends!" line, given the cirumstances.

He also clearly failed to understand how the LGBTQ+ community felt with his status, he is seen as "punching down" on trans people, asking them instead to stop punching down on his people — he used how Kevin Hart was ousted from his position as host for the Oscars after backlash to a series of homophobic tweets of his from years prior as an example.

"It's over, LGBTQ, LMNOPQYZ, it's over. I'm not telling another joke about you until we are both sure that we are laughing together," Chappelle said at last.

But his special indeed prompted a walkout by Netflix employees, and calls like this one from Pride for venues hosting him to do better.

Tickets for Chappelle's Toronto date tonight sold out almost immediately, ranging in price from $150 to a whopping $1,95o for super fans.

Lead photo by

John Bauld via Wikimedia Commons

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